In Spain's Valencian town of Bonol, the last Wednesday of August is reserved for the festival of La Tomatino—an outrageously messy, ravingly funny tradition of people throwing tomatoes at each other.
Anywhere from around 20,000 to 40,000 people from all over Spain and neighboring countries gather in this little town to join in the raucuous fun.
Town legend says that La Tomatina began when a group of friends positioned themselves in the town center and started pelting people with tomatoes. Instead of getting mad, the victims decided to get even by throwing back tomatoes at the group of friends. The number of participants in the tomato fight grew and everyone had a blast. It was in the year 1950 when the town council first allowed its official staging, but it was opposed the following year. When La Tomatina was officially sanctioned, the townspeople became more inventive by launching tomatoes through water canons and catapults. Other developments, such as the use of googles, wearing of gloves and crushing of tomatoes to be thrown, were implemented for safety.
A side attraction during La Tomatina are the Palo Jabon, a greasy pole that participants must climb to get a ham on top starts the day, with the revellers sing and dance around the pole while being showered by water from hoses. Once someone is able to push the ham off the pole, the tomato fight starts, signalled a loud gun shot.